Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bench Tutorial

What a wonderful weekend we had!! The weather was warm (maybe a little too warm!) and there was plenty of sunshine. I got so much done outside. My hubby pressure washed and sealed the patio, I mowed lawn, and we spread two dumptruck loads of mulch! I even planted some flowers. I have a window box and another planter on the back of my house that are up high enough that they don't get hit with frost, which hopefully we won't get!

I also finished all of my outside projects with the exception of the garden bench. It's replacing an old one, so I didn't feel pressured to get it made this past weekend. Maybe I'll make it this weekend and turn it into a tutorial. I'll also post pictures later of my outside, once I add a few more flowers.

It's lightly raining on and off today, so I'm hoping to get stuff done inside. I have a couple of rooms that need "tweaked" and then I'll post more pictures of my home.

Today I want to share with you a tutorial on making a bench. These are so easy to make that I have 7 of them in my house and 2 outside! I'm posting pictures of the directions so that you can click on them and print them out.

I've made most of mine with a leg height of 15", but you can cut them shorter if you wish. If you want to make a little table top bench, use a 1x2 for the side and shorten the legs.

In these pictures, the top bench is made with a 1x8 for the seat and measures 25" long, the middle bench is made with 1x10 and is 31"long and the bottom bench is made with a 1x12 and is 38" long.

If you make any of my tutorials, please send me a picture by clicking on "view my complete profile" for my email address (I don't know how to add it to my sidebar yet!). I'd love to see what you've made and post it on my blog!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bee Skep Tutorial

Okay, I'm feeling a little less stress today. I've gotten a couple more outside projects done today, so I'm confident that they'll all be done by this weekend! Yeah!!

I mentioned before that I made a primitive bee skep this past Sunday. I think it turned out pretty well and I'd like to share it with you. I came across this "craft recipe" on Primitive Blessings' website. There weren't any pictures, so I have nothing to compare it with. I was a little nervous at first, but my hubby has his own concrete business and has worked with concrete for a little over 30 years, so having him by my side to help, lessened the fear.

The recipe called for concrete mix, but my husband said that mortar mix would work better. I didn't ask why, I just trusted his judgement.

Okay, so here we go. . . .

Materials needed:
rubber/plastic gloves
quickrete mortar mix
peat moss
straw or hay, cut up
Molds - flower pots, sand pails, plastic cups, road cones

This is a little messy so you'll probably want to do this outside or in a garage. I laid a plastic table cloth over a 2' x 4' piece of plywood; that way I could move it if I had to.

Decide what you want to use as a mold. I listed some examples above. I used a 10" plastic flower pot. If you want to reuse your mold, coat it with vegetable oil or spray with Pam. My hubby suggested covering the pot with a plastic shopping bag which worked out great. It peeled right off. If you don't care about saving the mold, don't use anything and leave the bee skep on the mold.

How much mortar mix and water you'll need depends on how big and how many bee skeps you want to make. For my 10" flower pot, I used 1/2 bag of the mortar mix and 3/4 of a gallon milk jug of water. You'll want the mortar to be "tight", as my hubby calls it. In other words, thick like cookie dough. If the mortar's loose, it'll be harder to shape and take longer to dry.

Once the mortar is mixed, add some peat moss and straw pieces. Use these sparingly. Hubby says if too much foreign additives are mixed in, the strength of the mortar will weaken, causing it to crumble :( I only used a cup or two of the peat moss and a couple of handfuls of straw.

Once all that's mixed in, start taking handfuls of mortar and press onto your mold; blending the seams together.

When the mold is completely covered, smooth out any bumps and form the rings. I started at the top and worked my way down. Use a stick or spoon (I used my fingers) to scoop out a hole for the opening.

After I was done with that, I took peat moss and rubbed all over it. Leave it set for a day or two, depending on weather conditions, before taking it off the mold. Cooler weather slows the drying time. I made mine on Sunday when the weather was cold and rainy and was able to remove the mold on Tuesday.

Most of the peat moss stayed on, but I had a couple of bare spots. After it was off the mold, I brushed on some exterior wood glue and then patted on some peat moss. I don't know how it'll hold up in the rain. I think I'm going to spray it with concrete sealer and see if that seals in the peat moss. If not, I'll be gluing and patting after each rainfall!!

Overall, I think it looks kind of neat. It's different, which i like, and it was easier to make than I thought it would be. So if anyone wants to make one, I say "Go for it! You can do it!" LOL

I hope my directions are easy to follow. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

For my next post, I'll have a tutorial to make a bench.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I Need the Days To Be Longer!!

I have too many projects that I've started and need to complete, plus a few others that I'd like to do! I'm getting a little overwhelmed! I have things for outside that I would like to have completed by the time we mulch and plant flowers. Some are done, some are half done and some I have yet to start! My hubby informed me this morning that he might get mulch this weekend since it's suppose to be nice. NO!! I'M NOT READY!!! I have yard stakes cut out, but need to be painted, a stool bench, a garden bench and some bird houses that need to get done first! Well, okay, we can do the mulch, but it's too early to plant flowers. That'll give me some more time!
Here's one thing done!

On top of all that, I made the mistake of going to Berlin and Walnut Creek (small towns in the Amish community, also known as "Amish country") yesterday with my hubby and went shopping in some of my favorite stores - The Amish Peddler, Homespun Treasures, and Lisa's favorite, Country Gatherings. These stores will put you in awe!! The way they display their merchandise is so inviting that you just want to move right in! (Sorry, pictures are forbidden :( Besides, I forgot my camera!) I always come home full of inspiration and ideas that now I'm finding myself walking around from room to room making lists of things I want to change and things to make, plus lists of things I need to pick up at various stores.

It always amazes me how a small purchase can snowball into a major makeover. For instance, I bought a braided stair tread yesterday to use as a seat pad for my high back bench in my entryway and decided that now I don't like the tin of flowers on it, so maybe I'll make some pillows for it. And maybe I should paint it black instead of keeping it navy blue. Sound familiar?!! More projects!! It's never ending and I have a problem of wanting it all done yesterday! I feel like I'm spinning in circles, not knowing where to begin. I need to stop, take a deep breath, and get myself focused. I need to take one room and one project at a time. So I guess that means I need to focus on my outdoor projects first and the picture frame I bought today to turn into a mirror for the main bathroom and the wood I cut today to make a towel bar (also for the bathroom) and a dough bowl rack for the dining room, will have to be put on hold. Okay, deep breath. . .ahhh!!

I mentioned before that we went to Amish country yesterday. We started with breakfast at Rebecca's Bistro and Tea Room (no website) in Walnut Creek. It was sooo good! I had raspberry stuffed french toast with bacon and my hubby got an omelet, made to order, with toast. I'd been there before for lunch, but never for breakfast. It's such a refreshing change when compared to the food served at the Amish restaurants. I know they're big tourist attractions, and no offense to the Amish, but I think their food is rather bland. Besides, I can have roast beef, chicken and mashed potatoes at home. Rebecca's offers unique menu items such as their Turkey Berry sandwich. It has turkey, cranberry sauce, romaine lettuce, Swiss (?) cheese, sliced pineapple and some kind of sauce on toasted sourdough bread. It sounds strange, but I had a bite of my sister's the last time I went with her. It was fabulous!! The place is very quaint and charming and I love their decor (especially when I found out it was decorated by one of my favorite stores, Homespun Treasures). I can't believe I forgot my camera!!
After breakfast, we had about 45 minutes to kill before the stores opened, so we went to Lisa's favorite antique mall which was right near by. There were many things I wanted to buy, but I wanted to save my money for the "real" stores. (I had a list!) And yes, Lisa, there were 2 firkins there ( one for $39)! I left them there just for you!! LOL

I found a grain sifter for $12 and a lantern for $17. I thought the lantern was a great buy, but I don't think my hubby thought so until we came across an identical one at Homespun Treasures for $74. The only difference was the HT lantern had seeded glass. We also found a post lantern exactly like the one I posted the other day selling for $219!! Mine was only $90!

Here's a picture of the other stuff I bought. It seems I was in to textiles yesterday!!

Our final stop was at The Country Craft Cupboard. They have a large selection of patterns for cross stitch, needle punch, sewing, penny rugs, and wool rug hooking. Not to mention all the supplies that go with them. I had purchased a needle punch pattern in early December there and ran out of a Gentle Art thread color. The only place local for me that carries Gentle Art thread is 25 minutes away and she was out of that color. Needless to say, I never finished that project. So I made a point of stopping to pick up some more thread. Guess what I walked out with? Two more patterns and thread to go with them!! More projects!! Take a deep breath. . .

Aren't they cute?

Well, I need to be going - I have projects waiting :) Hopefully, tomorrow I'll post a tutorial on making a primitive bee skep made from mortar mix.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Can Anyone Relate?

I found this in Sunday's comic section!! Isn't it hilarious?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Where did the sunshine go?!!

Boo Hoo! It's raining here again! I sure enjoyed the warmth and sunshine we had the last couple of days. I got so much done. I've made a lot of projects that I'll share over the next few days.

The first half of the week was cold and rainy, so I went to a couple of thrift stores. I found cutting board for $1.91 (odd price!), a wall candle sconce for $.90 and some molds for $1.35 each at one place.

At another TS I found a black mesh container and rusty metal bird for $2.00 each and candlesticks and another mold for $1.00 each. I'll show the makeovers at a later time.

My most exciting find was an old porch post. I've been searching for one for awhile without any luck. My hubby gave me a coach lantern that I've had my eye one for a while for Christmas.

There's an amazing website (http://www.handcrafted-artifacts.com/) that sells lighting fixtures and other things made from tin, brass and copper at very reasonable prices. My lantern was only $90! A couple of years ago, I bought a Paul Revere lantern for only $23. I've seen them elsewhere for as much as $40-$50. He has three different sizes, mine is 15", the largest size.

So my idea was to find an old porch post to mount my lantern on to replace my old post light going up my walkway.

All the posts I've seen in the past (long before I had this plan) were solid in the center. We had to figure out how we were going to run electrical wire down through the middle. We found drill bit extensions at Home Depot that were 18" long for $12. We would need at least three of them (we'd drill from both ends and hopefully meet in the middle) so there's $36.00 we'd be spending on something we'd probably never use again; plus, the cost of the post if we'd ever find one. Luckily, my brother had several extensions pieces we could use, so that problem was solved. Now we only needed to find a post.

I noticed some posts leaning up against the building of a nearby antique store. I stopped to check them out and was bummed because they were too rotted for my liking. On top of that, they were sold as a whole porch package. Darn! I went inside and looked around, but didn't see any, so I asked a woman if she knew of anyone that had one. A man that worked there said that there was one in the next room. Sure enough, leaning against the wall with stuff hanging all over it, was a post. It was only $48, which was only a couple of dollars more than I would have paid for a metal post at Home Depot if that was the route I would have had to take. I was so excited!!

After the man loaded the post into my Explorer, I headed for home, thinking, "This is great! It's going to be a nice weekend, I'll get my brother's drill bit extensions, and we can get my new light post up!". As I unloaded the post, I noticed a hole in the center at the bottom. I looked to see how deep the hole was and guess what ?!! The whole went all the way through!!! The hard part was taken care of! YEAHH!!

So here's my new post light.

I didn't think it was prim enough, so I antiqued it alittle.


Well, I need to be going for now. As I mentioned before, I have a lot of projects to share with you in the next few days. I made a bee skep today using mortar mix, peat moss and straw. So far it looks great, but we'll see how it looks dry and if it comes off the mold!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Welcome to my Blog!!

Hello! I've finally decided to create my own blog after visiting so many others' blogs for the past month or two. Hopefully, you'll get to know me through my blogs and pictures as I have gotten to know some of you through yours.

I've wanted to post comments many times but felt awkward leaving messages when you don't know anything about me. Hopefully, you'll visit me often and learn more of more through my decorating style and crafting abilities.

I feel I have a lot in common with many of you in the fact that I, too, like to learn new decorating ideas and crafting techniques. I tend to live with the motto, "If there's a will, there's a way". I definitely have the will and I try hard to find the way. I have always prided myself in my crafting abilities; I'm always up for a challenge to learn new things. I've learned to design and build furniture, sew, cross stitch, needle punch, rug hooking, and many more fun things to make my home warm and inviting. I get many ideas from looking at magazines and at pictures of people's homes. I've learned so many things following certain blogs that it's become an addiction. I get so excited to the point that I find myself sticking labels on jars, grunging candles lying around, dusting things with cinnamon, cross stitching free patterns, making pantry cakes and fly screen covers, running to thrift stores to find treasures to makeover, and so many other fun things that I need to stop and ask myself, "Okay, now where am I going to put all these wonderful things?!!" I have downloaded and printed out so many patterns and ideas than I know what to do with, but I find myself checking every day to see what new things have been posted!!

I'm always changing things around and redecorating. My family even teases me about how many times I've changed wall colors, curtains, and always rearranging decor. My husband often comes home from work and says, "Looks like you cleaned house today!", as he stares at the numerous amount of things scattered all over my dining room table! You see, every time I clean, I decide that I don't like a certain gathering on a shelf, or what have you, and have to redo it. I'm not talking about just taking something from over here and putting it over there, I'll need to make something new! Sound familiar to anybody? LOL

So the next challenge I've decided to tackle was to create a blog. Hopefully, I'll be able to share with you some new ideas and post pictures that will get you inspired as much as many of yours have inspired me. Please bear with me, though, because this is a whole new experience for me and I still have a lot to learn (like what are "widgets" and Live Feed"?)!! LOL I guess you could say that my site is still a work in progress as I learn how to add different features and such. Any thoughts and advice will be greatly appreciated!

I have some pictures of my home posted on Webshots (http://community.webshots.com/user/simplyprim). There's only a few, but I'll post more later. I'm trying to create a slideshow for my blog, but I'm not having any luck getting the embedding code accepted. I followed the directions like it said so I don't know what I'm doing wrong! Can anyone help?

Well, I guess I'll be going.

Until next time... Kris


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